MSU, U of M leaders say they support adding USC, UCLA to Big Ten

Leaders at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are expressing support for a major expansion of the Big Ten Conference.

On Thursday, the Big Ten voted to add Southern California and UCLA as conference members beginning in 2024. The expansion to 16 teams will happen after the PAC-12’s current media rights contracts with Fox and ESPN expire and make the Big Ten the first conference to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Michigan State University Athletic Director Alan Haller issued a statement saying, “College athletics is changing, and bold action is required.”

The addition of two California schools to the Big Ten is the latest major change to what has been the traditional alignment of college sports conferences based largely on geographic lines.

In recent years, traditional college sports conferences have been undergoing a massive re-alignment as schools weigh increasingly lucrative television contracts and more autonomy for student athletes.

This week’s announcement comes almost a year after Oklahoma and Texas formally accepted invitations to join the Southeastern Conference in July 2025.

In a joint statement, U of M President Mary Sue Coleman and Wolverine athletic director Warde Manuel acknowledge the “changing college sports landscape” and make a “commitment to a positive student-athlete experience and fiscal sustainability.”

Copyright 2022 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

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